Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas update

How the Grinch Stole Christmas + green Grinch (mint) chocolate chip cookies + Grinch (green sherbet) punch = a fun Christmas family night. I gave up on the guy that was supposed to be selling me Ethan's gift on Craigslist and, thank you, Jesus! found an even better deal - Kodak Easyshare + case+ SD card for $20 - in pristine condition. I'm gonna have a happy boy. Oh, and a first attempt at sock buns for the girls - they're hoping for beautiful curls in the morning, but either way, they look so cute. And tomorrow morning is Polar Express morning. Big breakfast with my best friend and her family and then the movie with cocoa and popcorn - and, of course, a jingle bell craft! It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Bella

Last night she looked at me and said, "You are Pooh and I am Tigger." I admit it took me a minute to decipher what she was saying, I've been hearing a lot about Deepin' Duty and other princesses lately, so I wasn't following, but when I got it she then added that Gran was Piglet. When Pa walked into the room he volunteered to be Eeyore, but she picked up her nearby Winnie the Pooh book, flipped through it, then pointing to Rabbit, declared that to be Pa's new character. She hopped a good bit and had lots of carroty interactions with Rabbit too.

Today I was asking the kids what they wanted for lunch. Did they want turkey? Anna said, "I'm sick of turkey." Ethan added, "I don't really like turkey." (Really??) Rose, "No, I want peanut butter and jelly." And the whole time Bella is loudly declaring, "I like turkey. I like turkey!" Just in case you're wondering, we had arugula, green leaf salad with Chicken. And she didn't eat it. She did attempt to pick out some of the cheese and chicken :)

She can be a picky eater, but she still drinks copious amounts of chocolate milk. She also likes tea, her second choice beverage, as well as apple juice. She's also starting to eat sticky things, which she previously often avoided because she hates to have messy fingers. Now she eats them more often she just has to have her hands washed frequently while doing so. Apples are a new passion as well. She's been eating at least one a day lately - one day it was three! Every time I turned around she was eating another one!

She loves characters, still plays with her little plastic Lilo a lot, along with the doll house family, Little Peoples characters, her Mega Bloks princesses, and even Polly Pockets and Barbies. She even wore her first couple of princess dresses and watched Cinderella in the past couple of weeks.

Bella is such a cuddler. She is full of energy and often doesn't sit still when I need her to, but I love that she still loves to snuggle. She also still loves to sing. I just taught her
"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah". I just had to hear her say that word. So cute. I really do think she may have perfect pitch.

And Bella Gracie is still a big helper. A couple of nights ago she "helped" Brian take apart her toddler bed for storage. She said to me, "Look at me, Mommy, I helpin' Daddy." I had to take her picture, so as she helped Brian carry one side of the frame down the hall (she was holding her end up!) she said, "Take a picture, Mommy!" And I had to take one of her carrying the headboard too.

I love that she's talking more and more. Finally. Her sweet little "you welcome"s and "I love you, too"s make my day.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Will Work For Food

What do you do when you see someone holding that sign?

My daddy, a preacher, always offered to buy them something to eat, sharing the gospel while they ate, if they accepted. I remember standing in a San Antonio square on vacation with my mom and six younger siblings one time while he carried this out. He also picked up hitchhikers when he was alone. To him the captive audience was more than worth the risk.

But what about me, a mom in a minivan?

Usually we have bottled water in the van to offer from the window. We've also gone through a drive-thru to come back with food. It never feels like enough. I always feel unprepared.

Now I know that it could be a racket. That they could be a criminal. But what if they aren't? What if they just have no where to go and no one who loves them? Either way, don't they just need Jesus?

I saw a woman with a sign today. I didn't see her until I was passing her. She was facing the other way. The kids didn't see her, they would have insisted that I help. I wanted to help. But I was supposed to be at choir rehearsal soon and didn't have much to offer. I wished I could really get out of the car and find out what her story was and really help her. Would that be safe? Are we always called to do what's safe?

This idea
is at least a step in the right direction. Blessings bags pre-filled with food and toiletries. Kept in the car for such a time as this. And I'm going to be sure to include the gospel as well. Because even if I can't find out everything that they need, I can give them what they need most of all.

Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Bella loves spiders

We frequently hear her renditions of the "Tinky tinky pider going up the wahger 'pout". And this is the perfect season for a love of spiders. So far she's accumulated spider pants, shirt, socks, and purse, as well as a Ty beanie baby spider. She was thrilled today while sitting on the potty beside an open window, to watch a spider glide up it's thread and back out the window. Every book that has a spider in it is all about the spider. When she wants a picture drawn in her sketchbook, it's a spider. When she draws her own picture, it's a spider. Obsessed, do you think?

Of course, I love catering to my children's delights (thus the socks, purse, etc...), so I'm plotting a spider costume for Halloween, we printed these out today and adhered them to popsicle sticks, and I found so many other fabulous links that I thought I'd share them here.

And just for the record, she has a few other favorite songs too. Although she seems to have finally gotten tired of "Zaccheus", "Jesus Loves Me" is always sung with much enthusiasm. And the cutest is hearing her voice down the hall singing, "Walking on sunshine, oh-oh, walking on sunshine, oh-oh, walking on sunshine, oh-oh, and don't it feel good - WOO!"

  • I'm thinking this could make a really cute t-shirt.
  • I love this crocheted set, but I'm not that talented. I was thinking that maybe a few stuffed felt pieces in addition to her new stuffed spider might work.
  • These look more doable. Finger puppets and a felt board set.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Want to Remember 9/11?

We'll also be taking cookies to the firehouse. That's our way of remembering each year to thank those who serve us.

Friday, September 09, 2011

How to Make the World a Better Place

After studying whales and watching videos about the challenges they face in a polluted world, I concluded by saying, "So we need to think about what we can do to make the world better."
Anna replied, "The best thing is that we don't need to think about it. We can pray and we can KNOW what we can do, because the Holy Father will tell us what to do."

Monday, August 29, 2011

What I will do to win a fabulous mattress

Go to We Are That Family to see the object of my hopes and dreams. :) I seriously have very little hope of winning - there are some mattresses in desperate condition out there(actually my girls have one of those too), but I tried anyway for Brian because all of the angles you can adjust that bed to would probably mean that he would always be able to sleep in bed, maybe even comfortably. And maybe actually wake up in less pain. Like we'd hoped this one would. And did I mention that it massages?!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Sound of Music Moment

Yesterday, out of the blue, I looked at my kids and said, "do, re, mi, fa, sol, and so on are only the tools we use to build the song. Once you have these notes in your head, you can sing a million different tunes, by mixing them up, like this: so, do, la, fa, mi, do, re. Can you do that?" And my kids did!! Then I sang, "sol, do, la, ti, do, re, do." They sang that too. I told them that I had been waiting for this moment my whole life. They thought I was weird. I don't mind.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Genius in Marketing

Not that anyone doesn't already think that Disney has marketing genius, but this trailer really exemplifies it. Someone should have gotten a raise.

Take a Winnie the Pooh movie that will appeal to preschoolers. We already have the original book, the Disney books, and videos on our shelves. And the new movie is just called "Winnie the Pooh". It's not "The Tigger Movie" or some other twist that might pique your interest. Seriously, are we really interested in going to see a Winnie the Pooh movie?

Now, instead of doing a preschool-appeal preview, let's choose an already-familiar, but not too familiar, beautiful, contemplative song by Keane and add it as the soundtrack to the preschool movie. Suddenly, all the adults watching are feeling waves of nostalgia for the silly old bear and it doesn't seem nearly as insane to indulge your favorite preschoolers with overpriced tickets to the theatre. Mmmhmm. Genius.

Technical difficulties

Wow! I can publish again. For a while there I couldn't and I thought it was a somewhat permanent result of the mess by blog is in. Brian changed out plan with our ftp and all of my photos before the move to blogger disappeared. They are on a disc, but completely separate from the posts. Even if I wanted to engage in the days of work to unite them, I can't because less than half of them filled up my Blogger photo limit.

One reason I really like blogging is being able to click and see my kids on past birthdays, etc. But I do live in fear of losing all of my work and basically my life journal. So tell me, what are the best and most inexpensive ways to have space for lots of photos on your blog? Is a different blog platform better?

We tried moving the saved photos to a cloud and reconnecting them to blogger, but Blogger would only acknowledge photos with the same ftp name or something like that so it didn't work.

Do you somehow print and archive years of your blog? Is there a company out there that makes a year of your blog into a photobook? I get $50 each year for Christmas from Brian's dad and would gladly pay that to archive each year in print, but don't know if that's possible or in the price range.

Help me out. I've been on Facebook, which I love, but it's virtually impossible to revisit what you did in the less than recent past. I want a record, but I really don't have time for scrapbooking, digital or tangible. Blogging really was my speed. I'm about to start a traditional journal, so at least I've saved something. I feel like I've already missed recording so much just in the past few months...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sonnet 22

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curvèd point,---what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented? Think! In mounting higher,
The angels would press on us and aspire
To drop some golden orb of perfect song
Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay
Rather on earth, Belovèd,---where the unfit
Contrarious moods of men recoil away
And isolate pure spirits, and permit
A place to stand and love in for a day,
With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding: Because it's not every day that a girl becomes a princess

This is our last day of school this year and the girls want me to wake them at 5AM to watch the wedding live. I'm putting up some decorations and thought I'd share. :^)


The Prince of Wales' website has a downloadable official program and route map. This is really an amazing resource. It includes full file portraits of the couple and an explanation of each of their coat of arms, as well as historical information about Wesminster Abbey.

Sparklebox has pictures of the famous spots along the wedding route to download.

Take a commercial break and check out National Geographic Kids' United Kingdom page.

Activity Village has a wonderful page for kids, including Kate and William royal wedding paper dolls, royal frame handwriting pages, and coloring pages.

Instant Display also has a very nice kids page with educational resources, including bookmarks, coloring pages, vocabulary cards, and Royal Wedding newspaper templates.

The Woodland Trust's Nature Detective's site has this free Royal wedding party kit, woodland picnic style.

Favorite items? A Union Jack pinwheel ( a drawing pin is a thumbtack) and Cupcake Crowns to fit around your cupcakes

Disney's Family Fun has gotten in on the party with a "Happily Ever After" royal wedding page. Don't miss the Princess Kate paper doll with Disney princess and wedding dresses.'s Royal Sleepover party is so cute. Don't miss the excuse note, bunting (printing as I type), cupcake toppers, and drink flags.

Isn't this HappyLand Royal Wedding Set adorable? I think if I'd have found it a little sooner I might not have been able to help myself.

Design Editor has a great set Royal Wedding party printables including a banner and cup wraps.

And Boden USA has wedding bingo and for the littles (and those of us less familiar with British celebrities, wedding spotters.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday Links For Kids

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week Links

Sorry. This wouldn't publish Sunday night, then I forgot that it didn't publish. :^)

Departing from the Holy Week theme just slightly -

That's all for now. Teach your children. Show them the story. We borrowed The Visual Bible:Matthew to enjoy in the spaces this week. And have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Helen Keller

My kids have been very excited about all things Helen Keller lately. It started when I handed Anna Kate an easy reader about Helen Keller. She thoroughly enjoyed the story and had her typical ecstatic response upon discovering that it was a true story - that really is the icing on the cake to her. Another easy reader, and then I pulled out an old favorite that had been my mother's and then mine, Helen Keller's Teacher. Seriously one of my favorite biographies ever. I started to have Anna read it to me, then read it with her, but before long, I was reading it and everyone was listening. I found The Miracle Worker at the library and later we also watched the Nest version of Helen Keller on Anna Kate's birthday. It kind of paled in comparison to the the first one. Apparently many prefer older versions of this movie, but I thought that the little girl that played Helen in The Miracle Worker should have won an Oscar - doesn't seem like that would have been an easy role. So today we actually finished the last two chapters of the book and it occurred to me that there surely must be live footage of Helen, and a search gave is this little video. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nature Journalling: Trees

We finally made it to the park today, despite Bella being up with a stomach ache half the night. She did well and we had a marvelous time. First we fed the ducks and geese a bit. Rice chex. Bella wanted to feed the cereal directly to them. She chased a mallard around in circles trying to get him to take the food from her hand, and finally, before I could stop her, offered it to a Canadian goose, who wasn't very careful about how he snatched it. She was unruffled.

Next we set to work finding examples of the three types of conifer leaves: needle-like, scale-like, and awl-like. The conifers were far outnumbered by deciduous trees, but we, amazingly found the three different varieties all in the same spot. Ethan and Anna Kate drew the different needles, also observing the pollen cones and seed cones and drawing those. Our tree identification book left much to be desired, so they were also drawing the trees' shapes, needles in actual size, and as many other details as possible in hopes that a ranger at the ranger station might be able to identify them for us. As they were finishing, a ranger came in with a school group to the picnic area behind us, and I ventured over to ask him. He identified the trees for us and also gave me a mini history lesson on the tragedy of the American chestnut tree. Fascinating stuff.

Rose was being Rose this whole time, living in her world of daisies and rainbows and drawing in her nature journal. I'm pretty sure she drew a goose - as for the rest, I'm sure it will be a surprise. She also found another tent caterpillar. There's always a good supply of those, which is probably a good thing, since she has a tendency to love them to death.

We then began to try to identify some angiosperm trees. Once again the guide was not a great deal of help. We managed to identify oaks,maples, and sweetgums, and learn about the flowers on dogwoods. We hiked around the lake, and found lovely pink flowers that looked like honeysuckle - and later at home discovered, they were indeed wild pink honeysuckle - pink?! who knew?

Bella enjoyed picking up random rocks, continuing to make friend with any ducks she met and feeding them with the "one for Bella, one for the duck" method. The children had great fun sliding out over the lake on a fallen log until their feet touched the water. They decided that they were lucky to be homeschooled because school kids would not have been allowed to do this. Some days you win...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


We had the most wonderful thunderstorm here last night. It was big and bright and windy and noisy. I don't remember ever being afraid of thunderstorms. By the time I was a teenager, I found them utterly irresistable. They drew me out to the porch swing and sometimes I even danced in them - yeah, that would be my one of my few forages into adolescent foolishness - dancing in thunderstorms.

I don't do that anymore, even though I still want to. I did, however, grab a fleece blanket, and sit on my front porch wrapped in it, breathing deeply of the wonderful wet spring smells, and feeling the cool wind whipping spray on my face, and watching the jagged streaks, counting seconds and miles between them.

Today I lost my power due to some large trees weakened by the storm taking some power poles with them as they fell.

I couldn't do the laundry or run the dishwasher. And I had to reschedule our book club's garden tea party.

And that storm was so worth it.

Monday, April 04, 2011

First Braids

Daddy's happy.

Bella's bracelet

See that little bracelet on her wrist?

That is a Barbie necklace.

She put it on in November.

And has been wearing it ever since.

I thought she would like to try the white Barbie necklace.

I was wrong.

She likes the green one.

Name this Dog








Did you say Sadie?

Wrong. Look how much bigger she is:

Amd how much she looks like -

Our Sadie.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kidney Stones and Other Irksome and Expensive Stuff

Wednesday was not a good day. Brian picked up this car and paid the bill for the new transmission in it - then drove himself to the nearest emergency room. It's usually two years between kidney stones - this time it was four months. And he's apparently passing them from both kidneys - but they still haven't passed. So we drive his car home after he's medicated and remember that the AC had quit working right before the transmission. Kind of got forgotten in the mix. Hope that wasn't a colossal oversight and that it can be fixed reasonably. Then the bathtub decided to amp up its encore performance of not draining. So I guess the plumber is going to have to come back too. Sometimes you just feel like a lake being drained in a drought.

And, yeah, we're still waiting on the kidney stones. He really can't seem to catch a break.

My next post will be positive and optimistic.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What are the kids up to?

Ethan's wanted to be a farmer for a few years now. I suggested that he farm the backyard by working in the flower beds preparing them for spring planting. So far he's spent two afternoons clearing a flower bed and cutting the backyard somewhat randomly with an old manual lawnmower.

Anna says they're playing the Farmer in the Dell and she's the farmer's wife. She said that they had one daughter and a baby on the way. So I suggested that Bella be the daughter that she already has - so she's been watching Bella.

Rosie's outside playing now, but it was all I could do to get her there because she can hardly bear to leave her beloved piano. She composed her first song, writing her own brand of notation. She explained it to me. It was mostly the letters of notes, but two letters beside each other are played at the same time. She has rh and lh notations, and the numbers stand for black notes. She also threw a "T" and "O" in there to distinguish some really high notes, even though she knows that there really aren't any notes named "T" or "O".

And Bella? Bella looks stinkin' cute in pigtails.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Year's St.Paddy's Links


  1. Lucky Shoe Charms - my most likely candidate this year
  2. Faux Boy's Tie - because it's hard to find things for boys
  3. Split Pea Shamrocks - I know I won't get around to these any year soon, but aren't they just too cute?!
  4. Wired Shamrocks or the easier version, Chenille Stem Shamrock pins, and the fancy Martha Stewart version
  5. Paper Roll Shamrocks - these might just get made tomorrow too, depending on what kind of mood the kids are in
  6. Kind of a cute, easy crafty snack - Leprechaun Chowder or try this Color Mixing Pudding


  1. Lucky Shamrock Treats - I'd like to make these, but I have to find that cookie cutter I just bought...
  2. Broccoli Salad - it's green and my kids love it
  3. Leprechaun Jello
  4. Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage - we're having Reuben Casserole again, but this look like a good way to use the corned beef that I'm still hoping to pick up at Aldi's while it's on special.
  5. Lucky Charms Treat Bars - if I can't find the cookie cutter, these look pretty good - watch me not have marshmallows either.
  6. Celtic Knot cookies
  7. Shamrock Shakes - Our town doesn't have them, and if you can't find one nearby either, try here or make your own :^)
  8. It doesn't get much easier than these Lucky Charms cupcakes


We've been enjoying the Celtic station on Pandora Internet Radio this year. At book club this week we had a blast playing Hot Potato to the lovely jigs.


  1. Glimpses for Kids, Patrick of Ireland
  2. St. Patrick's Confession
  3. St. Patrick's Letter to Coroticus
  4. St. Patrick's Breastplate
  5. Paper for copywork, and for little ones here.
  6. Math
  7. Time for Kids Around the World: Ireland
  8. Story Starters
  9. How about an online mad lib , clover puzzle, or rainbow puzzle? Not sure if this really qualifies as educational, but it look like fun. :^)

If you haven't found anything you like yet, check out this links to printables page!

Have a very happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone! Don't forget to wear green - and the kids will probably enjoy it if the leprechaun's at your house dye the milk or toilets or anything else green. :^) They do stuff like that here every year.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box

Bella likes to sleep with the light on. Despite a string of Christmas lights, she still usually falls asleep with the overhead light on. Doesn't work too well for poor Rosie. So she came up with an alternative solution.

It must have worked.

Bella loves to slide

This was at the park last week. She climbed the slide over and over, and nearly always said a little "wheee" at the top before coming down. Had to capture the cuteness.

Friday, March 11, 2011


updated, expanded, and reposted from April 2007

We are working out way through Ann Voskamp's A Child's Geography this year. We just finished the chapter on plate tectonics and the next chapter explores earthquakes and volcanoes in more depth, so I brought out this post to dust off and update.Use discretion, of course, because these are secular science sources.

Make a volcano:

  1. Classic version
  2. Easier, messy mentos version - I'll mention here that the video indicates that the fumes from this version may be toxic
  3. Another easier version
  4. Easiest version - this is the one I'm sending to Gran's, but I'm writing a note on it to add the red food coloring to the vinegar, because I know that my kids won't buy that's it's a volcanic eruption if the "lava" is white
  5. Cheater's version
  6. Or you could make a lava light instead.

Worksheets, etc. :

  1. Crayola Volcano Mini Book
  2. Time for Kids map worksheets here and here.
  3. Label a volcano diagram
  4. Volcano writing paper and coloring page
  5. Fill in the blank
  6. Volcano shape book, Make Words, and more from abcteach.
  7. Flap book


  1. Eyewitness - Volcano

Online articles:

  1. Science News for Kids - enter "volcanoes" in the search box if nothing comes up. There are several articles
  2. "Explore Volcanoes"
  3. "Volcano! Mountain of Fire" - this online story at National Geographic Kids has video clips as well.
Online activities:

  1. VolcanoWorld's Games & Fun Stuff - has a neat dot to dot among other things
  2. For older kids (looks like preteen and up): a strategy game in which you are a disaster manager handling a volcanic eruption and evacuating a town
  3. Discovery Kids Volcano Explorer - see plate boundaries and volcano locations on a globe, learn the types of volcanoes, and build a virtual volcano

And last, but not least -

Home Ec (otherwise known as Snack Time):

Which would you make??


We have a basket full of books coming from the library about Volcanoes, Volcanoe National Park in Hawaii, Mount St. Helens, and Pompeii. I'll try to add our favorites here on a booklist.

Next up: Earthquakes

"Photo courtesy".

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Couldn't wait until Easter to share this

My newest favorite song :^)

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but Heaven's will
No scheme of Hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He's alive, He's alive

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

~by Matt Mayer

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Spinach and Pancakes,But Not Together

Okay, I began this post just to shamelessly use my blog to keep track of this post by Molly Piper asking how to use spinach. Her readers left a vast list of yummy recipes and ideas and I don't want to lose it. My kids love spinach. Really. In fact, Ethan really isn't in to salads anymore - unless it's spinach. (I think he's just sick of romaine and my kids have never liked iceberg lettuce.)

In other news, we celebrated Fat Tuesday with Dunkin' Donuts breakfast that we shared with our neighbors, then for supper, a pancake extravaganza - peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes, cherry vanilla pancakes, cranberry walnut pancakes, Oreo pancakes, then lemon blueberry pancakes - one of each for each person and all gluten free - it was a hit! The peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes won hands down. We talked about Pancake Day traditions and about fasting. That's on the agenda for tomorrow.

Ethan has given up video games for Lent. I had him go without them for a week a few weeks ago and he realized that a lot of his anger and frustration was linked to playing a particular game that was frustrating. He decided that he wanted to give up all video games completely on his own, hoping to develop a better attitude and self-control as a result. Incidentally, I'm giving up video games too. Doesn't that sound lame?? But I've spent a ridiculous number of hours lately trying to keep ahead of my sister and mother on Mahjohng and Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook. Indeed, Rachel, I worked very hard the last half hour before midnight to best your high score, but now it's time to lose that imbalance of time versus return of investment. So that I can invest it elsewhere - like in my sorely neglected blog, for instance. :^)

Tomorrow we are going to take a exploratory trip into the world of fasting. Carnation instant breakfast and a piece of fruit at lunch, then a regular dinner. The children want to fast. I know that this isn't 'really' fasting, but it is a good way, I think, to begin to learn this spiritual discipline. We recently read about Jesus' forty day fast in our daily Scripture readings, and Rose really has latched on to this correlation with Lent. Imagine not eating at all until Easter? Being "one meal hungry" is enough to put most of us in a bad enough mood to sin without any additional temptation. I know that most Protestants don't observe Lent very much, or at all, but I am so grateful for something on the calendar that I can build traditions upon that focus us on the sacrifice of Jesus. If we can spend weeks anticipating the celebration of His birth, why not the celebration of His resurrection? We will light the candles, take a break from Philippians to work again on Isaiah 53, relearn our passion and Easter hymns, and remember all that Jesus has done for us.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Illness and The Quotable Kids Roundup

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Last Wednesday afternoon the two older kids came down with a fever/body aches/turns into a nasty cold after a few days virus. Rosie got it Saturday, and Bella came down with it on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Brian was working 12 days swamped in projects that served to make his fibromyalgia stay at a completely hideous level, so if he wasn't at work he was completely crashed here at home. Now I know what house arrest is like, unless you count Walgreens runs for more medicine and tissues or midnight trips to WalMart.

We did make it out to enjoy the gorgeous early spring weather for a short picnic on Valentine's Day, but it kind of backfired as toddlers and picnics really aren't the best combination, and the feeling better kids of the morning all came home moaning. Rosie suggested that we reschedule Valentine's Day because it didn't feel like Valentine's Day.

Which, considering that Brian's mom also had emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix this past Friday, and is of the same opinion, may just happen. We did, however, do the best we could on the actual day, but I was seriously outnumbered by sick people.


Now for the funnies. If you're my friend on facebook, you can disregard the rest of this post because I type them in there first, but I have to save them here for posterity. Blogger better last for posterity...

February 13 -

After having a fever and body aches all day yesterday, Rose ended the day by saying, "This was a wonderful day, I got to watch lots of movies, eat yummy food [like frozen yogurt tubes], and take my favorite medicine!"

She then went on to have fever induced night terrors two nights in a row and she wasn't as easygoing about her holiday being spoiled the next day, though. She'd been sick Christmas day too, and I think she was more than a little bummed to be sick on a holiday again. :^)

February 14-

Anna: Where's Daddy?
Me: He just went to work.
Anna: It's Valentine's Day!
Me: You don't get off work for Valentine's Day.
Anna: Why?? That's rude!

Ethan had a very similar, though less shocked, reaction.

And today:

First a discussion on a dinner dish morphed and Rose elaborated, "But I don't like it because it has beans, and I don't like beans. Except for chocolate beans - those are the best beans!"

Then later:

I was trying to figure out how and who might be able to make it to the missions conference tonight that we've been planning on and preparing for.

Me: I wish I knew what to do.
Ethan: Don't ask me. I wish I could give you advice, but I don't have any experience being a mother.

He continued on about how there were probably mothers at church that had experience -why don't I call one of my friends - and besides half of my friends were grandmothers, they had children and grandchildren which was double experience and there were probably even some that had great great grandchildren and that would be a lot of experience!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Creation

A friend was blogging to today about African American poets. That got me thinking about some of my favorite poems, the sharing some youtube videos with my kids, and then my kids wanting to write their own poems. So here is my Ethan's poem. He'll love you forever if you comment on it on his own blog, Art by Ethan, where it was originally posted. He wanted it to be more theologically and technically accurate than the famous version.

"God's World"
by Ethan

In the beginning, there was God, and there was shadow.
God said, "Let there be heavens and let there be earth."
And they were.

Then God made light, and grabbed it, and formed it to a ball,
And made the sun.

God blew on the sun, and from it came the stars.
And there in the darkness a glow from a rocky mirror shined out it's light,
There the moon.

God threw out lightning and broke water from water.
There was land.

A wave from the sea cracked up fish and the birds.
The land gave birth to all living creatures.
And God gave birth to man.

This was inspired by Genesis 1 and "The Creation" by James Weldon Johnson


And now the video of James Weldon Johnson's version that we loved so much:

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Missions Emphasis Week - Homeschool Edition

Our old church had just a handful of missionaries. As a new church they chose to support fewer missionaries at large percentages of their support so that they could be a part of the church body when on furlough and we could know them intimately. The pros to this system are obvious (to me, at least), but difficult to transition to.

Our new church has the more traditional approach to mission support and, as a result, supports over sixty missionaries as well as more than a dozen ministries. And - here's the really cool part - next week we are having the annual Missions Conference! From an international covered dinner to prayer and worship and a Children's Conference, it's looking like an exciting four days.

Soooo....I've been brainstorming our Missions Emphasis Week at home to correspond with the Missions Conference. Here are my ideas. Don't worry, I won't get to them all in the one week, but some we've already done, and I plan to use the others later.

  1. A huge list of missionaries... how to get to know them? Thankfully the church published a booklet with a picture, bio, and prayer requests for each missionary. Each day I've chosen specific geographic regions. We'll spread out our laminated floor world map and locate each missionary, reading about them as we go, and praying for them. You could also have your kids go through a list of missionary names and countries and give them different color highlighters for each continent - then let them categorize the list.

  2. Read missionary biographies. I'm planning to read With Two Hands: Stories of God at work in Ethiopia (Hidden Heroes) by Rebecca Davis. We love her - and we love her books! We were able to preread her last book of short missionary stories before it was published and my kids were hanging on every word and still talk about some of the stories. We've also enjoyed the Trailblazer series.

  3. Write your own missionary biography. Interview one of your missionaries in person or by phone and have your child write a short biography - they can illustrate it too, if they like. Be sure to send a copy to the missionary. :^) Research papers on the lives of past missionaries are always a good assignment too.

  4. Write a country report. Learn about the place your missionary is serving. Younger children will love filling in this free Cool Country Report poster from Scholastic. You'll want to print it poster size.

  5. The Torchlighter DVDs are wonderful and many of them are missionary stories. I think we have a new one at the library that we haven't seen yet. Ethan wants to see the Eric Liddle story again if they don't.

  6. E-mail missionaries. Many missionaries have access to e-mail. Ethan had a lady visit his Sunday School class a couple of weeks ago. She encouraged the children to e-mail her and so he did. She replied back the same day, and he was thrilled! Encourage your kids to keep up with it. Make it their writing assignment once a week, and check their e-mails for proper letter form, spelling, and grammar before hitting "send".

  7. Write postcards to missionaries. Postcards are short and easy to write. Why not find a missionary kid to become pen pals with?

  8. Look up the ministries that your church supports. We're going to go to each ministry's website and get to know what they're about and how we can help.

  9. Have a yard sale. Our church supports Hydromissions, and it was the featured ministry fro VBS offerings this year. My kids were disturbed that the goal was not met and have been planning a yard sale ever since - hopefully we can get that in this spring.

  10. If your church supports a crisis pregnancy center, collect coins in baby bottles - some ministries supply these during fundraising seasons. Why not get a roll of quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies? Then have your children complete tasks or reward them for good deeds and see who can earn coins to fill their bottle first. You could even deliver the filled bottles yourself along with other supplies, such as baby blankets.

  11. Visit Voice of the Martyrs' Kids of Courage site. Their previously published children's magazine is there online and highlights a different country each month. They offer lots of ways to learn and be involved in supporting the persecuted church around the world.

  12. Call a missionary on the phone. Check out your phone plan. If you have a flat rate long distance plan, you will probably be amazed to find that you have international minutes for free, or that cost a mere 5-10 cents per minute. Skype is another great alternative. Learn about time zones and find a good time to call.

  13. Support a pastor/missionary. Whether you choose to add support to your church's mission program or on your own, find a way to make it personal. Our family supports a church planting pastor in India through Gospel for Asia. For $30 a month we cover half of his support, and we have a picture and receive letters from him.

  14. Start a missionary wall, with prayer cards of missionaries.

  15. Invite a missionary to your home. Have them for lunch, or coffee and dessert. We once had an ice cream social for our small group and were able to have a very personal look at one of our missionary's ministry and family.

  16. Work with your church's mission board. Ask how you can volunteer. Find ways to encourage others in your church to be more involved in missions. Perhaps you could set up a missionary display featuring a different missionary each week or month. Leave note cards out for people to write a note right then, then mail them all together. Or head up a special Christmas collection or baby shower package for a missionary.

  17. Join a missionary's personal prayer team. Make the commitment to pray for them every day - then do it! My yahoo e-mail sends me a reminder every day. And the missionaries in South Africa that I pray for send a facebook update nearly every day as well. Many missionaries have e-mail lists. Sign up. Share updates with your family. And pray!

If you homeschool, work to create a cohesive life. Don't divorce geography from missions. Every time you study geography, study the mission field. That's what the world is. Communicate with your missionaries, get to know them. There really is no excuse unless your missionary is serving in a sensitive area. If that is the case, learn how to communicate with them safely, and send encouragement their way.

How do you incorporate missions into your family/homeschool?

Sadie's First Birthday

Since Sadie found us rather than the other way around, we took the vet's best guess at her age, counted backward, and chose February 5th to be her birthday. So we got her a new Mr. Squeakers - this one is named "Bananadog" . Mr. Squeakers was smallish and pink and is in need of repairs, but Bananadog is large and yellow and Sadie was quite pleased with her gift. Brian also got her some gourmet treats that she typically refuses to eat. Sadie doesn't like dog treats. Even ones that look like people treats. Just Kibbles and Bits. And whatever people food Bella manages to feed her. Which really is quite a bit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I want to live in Alaska when I grow up.

Ethan: I want to live in Alaska when I grow up.

Me: You just said you were tired of ice.

Ethan: Yeah, but all those beautiful sights and camping.

Me: I think you could do more camping here.

Ethan: Sarah Palin goes camping like once a week.

Anna: Sarah Palin's lived there her whole life. She hasn't found a warmer place.

In Case You Ever Wanted to Know What Trouble Looks Like


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Gluten Free Cookies Ever

I wanted to eat them all myself!
Bob's Red Mill Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies - melted chocolate, brownie mix, and chocolate chips. You know you want to make some.

A True Berry?

The children were discussing whether a strawberry is a true berry, Rose insisted that it was, "see? straw - BERRY."

Icy Day

Anna Kate: Can we have our dolls outside? We're playing Antarctica!

Ethan's 10th birthday - Game party sleepover, take two

Pa and Gran made drastic improvements to a crude fort built of
found materials. Now it has a dry raised floor and is better
closed in against the weather. And Gran added her decorating
touch. She also painted his orange bedroom walls sky blue to
match his nature theme and Pa installed some new shelves for his
nature treasures.

This was one of Ethan's top birthday wishes along with a Twilight
turtle that his Gramma got him. Folkmanis makes beautiful
puppets and this Sequoia Tree Wildlife Playset is no exception.

tacos with the fixings and root beer floats

this was immediately put to use - in my downstairs room
It really is rough having a birthday in January. :^)

Art quality drawing paper - he was just running out.
This is his passion.

And owls are his favorite animal this year. This was
almost an owl pellet dissection party.

Folkmanis' Snowy Owl puppet from Mama and Dad.

Playing the borrowed Wii. A big treat.

Cherry and Coconut Key Lime pies and
lemon iced rice krispy treat cupcakes.